Rise of the Planet ?of the Apes

Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto | 12A | 105 mins

A prequel to Planet Of The Apes, Tim Burton’s 2001 dark, brooding tale of all-conquering primates, Rise of The Planet Of The Apes seeks to explain how ?those monkeys got so damned powerful and intelligent in the first place.

Against the backdrop of modern-day San Francisco, James Franco plays scientist Will Rodman whose antidote to Alzheimer’s enables some lab monkeys to develop superior intelligence. When one of the high-functioning apes, Caesar – played to surprisingly soulful effect by Andy Serkis – is left motherless, Rodman adopts him.

All goes swimmingly until Caesar bites a nasty neighbour and is imprisoned in a monkey sanctuary. He soon develops a consciousness for the plight of his fellow apes living under humankind’s tyrannical rule and decides enough is enough.

Rupert Wyatt’s direction is thrillingly kinetic and the cutting-edge stop motion/performance capture he employs produces some incredible results: the scene of hundreds of chimps dangling from the Golden Gate Bridge as if it is a giant jungle gym is breathtaking.

Franco’s performance is sympathetic and understated, but Freida Pinto, who plays his girlfriend, is wasted as arm candy. The movie is marred by some hokey, unintentionally funny moments, and loses momentum towards the end – but overall, it’s an enjoyable flick.

 Good for: Anyone who was scared shitless by the 1968 original


-Alison Grinter